I am excited about the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference and annual meeting in Phoenix June 11-14.
From our Crossover events that are being strategically tied to Evangelist Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade at the University of Phoenix Stadium on June 11th to the one-of-a-kind sacred bond that will be formed during the June 13th IMB “Sending Celebration.” From SBC President Steve Gaines’ planned emphases on prayer, evangelism and financial stewardship to the opportunity to hear from all our SBC ministries and see how God is using our efforts to change the world for eternity.
From an excellent lineup of preachers for the Pastors’ Conference, including Florida’s very own Jose Abella of Providence Road Church in Miami, to important business during the annual meeting. The business will be greatly influenced by the leadership of Bell Shoals Pastor Stephen Rummage and Destin layman Rod Martin. Rummage is chair of the SBC’s Executive Committee, and Martin is chair of the Committee on Order of Business.
I am confident that God will use Gaines’ vision and spiritual leadership during these critical days to position us well as a people who are trying to join God in His work. We will be reporting live from Phoenix, so if you can’t be there yourself make sure you’re checking our website—goFBW.com—Twitter and Facebook on a regular basis. Look for the hashtag #SBC17.
Something else very important should happen during these days: H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, should be voted in as the president of the 2018 SBC Pastors’ Conference, which will be held in Dallas.
Charles is going to be nominated by Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Church in the Tampa area. I talked to Pastor Whitten recently about his decision to nominate Pastor Charles.
“I have been incredibly impressed with his skill for the Word of God and love of the church,” Whitten told me during a phone interview. “He’s a man who’s an incredible preacher and prolific author. He preaches all over the country and represents the church well.”
Charles’ authority as a preacher and teacher of God’s Word is so well-known that his annual expository preaching conference attracts hundreds of participants, and he has authored four books: “On Pastoring,” “The Difference Jesus Makes,” “On Preaching” and “It Happens After Prayer.”
He also has an extensive speaking schedule outside his home church. As he was sitting on a plane getting ready to depart for one of those opportunities, Charles told me from his cell phone that he spends about half his time during the week speaking at schools, conferences and churches.
He has pastored Shiloh since the fall of 2008, and was lead pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for almost 18 years prior to his calling to Shiloh.
For all of these reasons, Charles would make an excellent leader in this high-profile position. In other words, his resume indicates that he has earned the opportunity.
And there is also at least one more reason Charles should be the president of the 2018 SBC Pastors’ Conference. Charles is African-American, and the Southern Baptist Convention needs him—and countless others who look like him—to be represented in the ranks of our denominational leadership structure.
Said Whitten: “The day is now that we send the message to portray to the world what Southern Baptists are all about.”
Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at kbumgarner@goFBW.com, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor. This first appeared in the June print edition of the Florida Baptist Witness.